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Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul of Otis Redding

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iTunes Review

Designed to look like a vintage ‘60s Stax album that’s getting the reissue treatment, Lonely & Blue is actually a collection of songs that capture the loneliest and saddest side of Otis Redding's music. Several tunes here are well-known—“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now),” “These Arms of Mine,” “My Lover’s Prayer”—but they're thrown into the context alongside not other hits but songs that equal their sentiment and mood. As a result, the songs can be heard much more naturally. Any serious soul music fan should own an exhaustive Otis Redding anthology, but they should also own the actual albums and collections like this one, which includes an alternate take of “Open the Door” listed as the “Skeleton Key Version.” Sadly, Redding’s recording career lasted only from 1962 to 1967. Artistically speaking, we couldn’t have asked for better. But it's meant that aside from the blockbuster hits—“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” reached No. 1 after his death—his catalog is less well-known than those of artists who enjoyed longer careers and greater commercial success while they were alive.


Born: September 9, 1941 in Dawson, GA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s

One of the most influential soul singers of the 1960s, Otis Redding exemplified to many listeners the power of Southern "deep soul" -- hoarse, gritty vocals, brassy arrangements, and an emotional way with both party tunes and aching ballads. He was also the most consistent exponent of the Stax sound, cutting his records at the Memphis label/studios that did much to update R&B into modern soul. His death at the age of 26 was tragic not just because he seemed on the verge of breaking through to a wide...
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